Tag Archives: poetry

Winter poetry

Pagan thinking around winter tends to focus on sleeping so as to rebirth in the the spring. However, not all seeds that lie in the earth will live to germinate. For many people, seasonal affective disorder makes the winter a hard time. The rising cost of living will make this winter cold and brutal for many. I think it’s helpful to acknowledge and honour the darker side of the year with all that it can bring.

Winter


Frost fingers needle skin

Ice forming in weary bones

Let me lie down now.

Bury me under snow and let us

See if truly I am a seed

To wake in the spring

With the promise of new life.

March, perhaps, or April.


A bulb, fat with potential,

Resilient against the cold,

Firm holding, thaw me

And I will blossom.

Perhaps.


If only I could slumber

As bears do, waiting out

The dark days.

Enclose me snug

In some snow cave

Forgetful months.


Perhaps it is only winter

And not an Ice Age

The chill in my heart

Temporary, soon eased

Not the slow cracking advance

Of another glacier reaching

To engulf me, not the silence

Not the life that is death.

Only winter in these bones

Surely, only winter coming.


Numbing at the edges.

Fingers and feet

Cold beyond reckoning.

Waiting for the chill

To extend along limbs

Stealing breath

Tiny snowflakes

In my eyelashes

Layering up softly

Inside my lungs.


Winter always kills

Lie me down gently

On the iron hard ground

Let the ice take me

I am too tired to fight.


Perhaps in spring

With tears or meltwater

It will matter

Whether I was a seed

To grow fresh shoots

Germinating in the cold

Or whether I could not

Find the means to thrive.


It is only winter.

Surly not an ice age

Surely not forever.

Let the freeze take me

And try to believe

Spring will offer

A beginning.

Drained – a guest poet

Keith Errington is no doubt best known in steampunk circles for his comedic work. He’s performed with the Hopeless, Maine crew on a number of occasions, the first of which was right at the beginning of our figuring out how to get Hopeless onto a stage. He’s previously written a novella in the Hopeless setting – The Oddatsea and has been working with me on another Hopeless novella we hope to get out into the world next year.

It gives me great delight to be able to share some of his more serious work here. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this sort of thing.

Drained


When the tide is low, and the lake’s water has returned to the air

When the river can flow no more, and the spring bubbles its last

There is no more.


When the sea is calm, and the wind has all blown out

When the clouds have turned to grey, and the sun rises no more

What is left?


When the child has cried every tear, and the artist can no longer express grief

When the Nurse is out of care, and the mother can tend no more

Where is the love?


When the trees have withered, and the grass is returned to soil

When the flowers are weeds, and the fields are sand

What will grow there?


When the deer is slain, and the last rhino dead

When the birds are grounded and fly no more

Where can you go?


When the heron is dying, and the snake is withering to skin

When the horned god has not the strength to carry on

What can he do?


A glint.

A sprout.

An egg.

A raindrop.

A breath.


A smile.




Keith Errington


At the limits of language

Traditionally speaking, language is the bard’s tool. Even if we aren’t being deliberately bardic, language is a key part of how most humans get most things done. It’s also an incredibly limited tool to use in some ways, especially English which is a terrible language for anyone trying to talk about complex emotions. Just having the one word for love is extremely limiting for a start.

For some purposes, the kind of writing I’m doing in this post is the best way to get things done. I’m aiming for clarity and I’m talking about the kinds of concepts that are pretty easy to talk about. When it comes to spiritual experiences, it can be very hard to find words with enough power to express what’s happened.

I could, with regards to yesterday’s blog post, have written a more coherent description of what happened. But I don’t think I could have done that without sacrificing the impact. The intensity of the experience is at least as important as the events – and without conveying that, none of it makes sense. I can tell you that I’ve had an intense experience, but that probably won’t be enough to make you empathise much – unless something similar has happened to you.

Talking about magic and deity with people who have similar experiences is easier because you can assume they have some idea what you’re talking about. But even in that context, it isn’t easy. Trying to talk to anyone who doesn’t share your frames of reference can be hard.

Poetry doesn’t work for everyone. It requires that you think in a different way to dealing with prose.It’s a side step from everyday language and reality, and sometimes that can really help when trying to express the kinds of things that regular language just can’t handle.


How to Make Bone Soup

How To Make Bone Soup is an ebook poetry collection that can be picked up for free from my Ko-fi store. I can’t do much to help people with the greed crisis making life unaffordable in the UK, but I can and will keep giving stuff away. https://ko-fi.com/s/333a79c6be Do check out the other free books in my store, too.

When times are hard, the first thing to go is likely to be the leisure budget. This inevitably makes creative stuff the most precarious line of work to be in. Although honestly nothing looks secure anymore and I can’t begin to imagine how this winter is going to play out.

I’m not especially affluent in terms of income, but we’re hugely insulated by owning our small home outright. Without that, it would be challenging to make all of this work, but not being at the mercy of mortgage fluctuations or landlord greed is a massive blessing and a privilege. I owe a lot to my ancestors.

It helps a lot that I have Patreon supporters. Having a monthly income from Patreon makes it easier to spend time on creative projects. Which in turn makes it feasible for me to just give ebooks away. If you would like to be part of that, please wander this way – https://www.patreon.com/NimueB

One-off ko-fi donations are also much appreciated. https://ko-fi.com/O4O3AI4T/

If you are one of the many people struggling to make ends meet right now, please help yourself to the free amusements I have on offer. There’s lots more content over on my youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/NimueBrown as well. 


Mapping the Contours

Mapping the Contours is a poetry collection from some years ago, which I self-published. I’ve been swapping books with David Bridger a fair bit this year – we’re writing together and getting to know each other’s work has been part of that process. So, this isn’t an impartial review, but on the other hand, as a Druid and speculative fiction author David is very much the sort of person I hope would find my work resonant.

“I became aware of Nimue Brown one year ago, through her non-fiction books, the first one I read for research purposes being her “Druidry and the Ancestors – finding our place in our own history.” I found her mind impressive. Then I read some of her fiction, and found her creativity hugely impressive too.

Then she reviewed one of my novels, and then a second, and then we started talking, and then we became friends, and then we decided to co-author a fantasy series. It’s an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable collaboration in a creative relationship that has grown, and continues to grow, organically.

Now, for the first time, I’ve read her poetry. In her collection, Mapping the Contours, Nimue explores place and relationship in her life along the Cotswold edge. This is her, “…walking myself into the landscape, and walking the landscape into myself.”

It’s remarkable poetry. I read it slowly, then re-read it even more slowly, taking many individual poems in it as either mini-meditations and visualisations, or as starting points for deeper meditations.

I am grateful for this. Opening into my consciousness as it did at first with Nimue’s characteristic humility, it quickly became quite possibly the most meaningful collection of poetry I have ever read.

Mapping the Contours, Nimue Brown, published by the author 2018″

* * *

You can pick up the ebook version for free from my ko-fi store – https://ko-fi.com/s/8e7caa2cfc


Adventures in Poetry

I’ve written poetry since childhood. Child me was very much a nature poet. Teenage me wrote a lot of angsty emotional stuff – which wasn’t that original of me, but there we go. The habit of using poetry for catharsis and processing stayed with me. These days I try to work it into something another person might find interesting or entertaining before I put it in front of anybody.

For some years, my writing poetry has depended a lot on having an audience for it. I put the odd poem on here, and there’s one on Patreon most months. I was at my most prolific as a poet when I had a local, monthly poetry event to go to. There’s nothing like the promise of an audience to focus my thoughts and get me interested in writing. Making people laugh is deeply attractive to me. Just occasionally I managed to spellbind hard enough to get deep silence in response to my words, and I find that highly rewarding, too.

Of course lockdown meant there were no poetry events to go to. I rapidly discovered that Zoom events with more than a couple of people stressed me to the point of malfunction, so while there was a big online poetry scene during the pandemic, I wasn’t part of it.

I’m currently in the process of reviewing the poetry I’ve written in the last two years, to see if I can make a viable collection out of it. When I’ve pulled it together, people on Patreon will get first dibs, and then later in the year I’ll put it in my ko-fi store – https://ko-fi.com/O4O3AI4T/shop – where I already have a number of ebooks, and two poetry collections. You can pick any of those books up for free, or pay what you want. I’m a firm believer in gift economy, so if you have limited resources, please help yourself to the free stuff with my blessing.

If you have resources, throwing a few coins in the hats of creators you like is a really good choice. It makes a lot of odds. It doesn’t have to be my hat – if you’re able to support other creators then that’s entirely cool so far as I’m concerned. I also benefit from other creators being able to afford to keep going.


Gorgeous Things

A shoutout for a few folk I know who have been doing cool stuff recently.

Haven Jean has made an album. It is a splendid thing and you can listen over here –

https://havenandben.bandcamp.com/album/fragile-spark

It’s not overtly Druid content, but there’s a lot of powerful stuff shared, and humour, and charm and that’s all good Bard stuff.

There is background info for the album on Haven’s blog –

River has posted two beautiful poems on The River Crow blog –

Intense and lovely and powerful poems from Meredith Debonnaire


Love & Other Fairy Tales – a review

This isn’t an objective review – poet Adam Horovitz is someone I am blessed to count as a friend, and I live with the cover artist! 

This is a lovely collection of poems. You should definitely get a copy.

I’ve spent days trying to work out how to write a review without saying anything too obvious or tedious about this new collection while getting across something meaningful about why I like Adam’s poetry so much. So here we go.

Adam is like the sea.

Stay with me, this works. The sea takes whatever it encounters, and polishes it until the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Adam is much the same. His poems are often about scenes and experiences that are likely to be familiar. He also favours the everyday language – he isn’t one of those poets where you have to go in armed with a thesaurus, willing to try and decode the poem as though it was some kind of cryptic crossword. Which is as well because mostly I hate that sort of writing. 

You don’t have to have read a lot of poetry to make sense of Adam’s work. There are no rules or references that you need to have a handle on. Some of the pieces do allude to other work, and while it’s nice when you know what’s going on there, it’s also totally workable when you don’t. I knew some of the pieces he mentions and not others, and it was fine. 

In these poems, simple and everyday language turns into something enchanted. It’s about the pacing, the placing of words in relationship to each other, the soundscapes thus created, and the way a pairing of words can birth a sense of meaning that feels magical and unfamiliar even when those words are wholly mundane. The ordinary becomes remarkable.

It’s like the way the sea takes ugly broken pieces of glass, and turns them into colourful, smooth delight. 

More on the publisher’s website – https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/adam-horovitz


Queen of the needle – poem

Prick me, and I will bleed

My wounds stay open

Skin bloodstained

The damage painted

For easy viewing.

Break open my skin

For my own good

Apparently.

Test me

Test me

Test me again.

What am I?

Why do I bleed

Still?

What is wrong

That I do not heal?

Stab me with your solutions

Solving nothing.

Investigate me 

Down to the bone

Under the microscope

You find no answers

I am still bleeding.

An illness with no name

No diagnosis

No reality.

A being without explanation

May as well be a fairy

For all the good it will do.

Stab me again

As though this time

It could be different.

(art by Dr Abbey. Text by me, and I don’t heal injuries made with steel easily, which causes me all kinds of difficulty around conventional medicine. )


The crane wife – a poem

The crane wife

Knows herself perfectly, 

Cannot tell if she is human

Or crane.

Transcends these ways of being

Entirely and only herself.

Knows her feminine soul,

Desirous of egg and man,

Not crane or baby.

Walks between worlds

Loves without compromise

Kills when she must.

She is not here

To help you make sense

Of the world.

She is not a parable to guide you

These are not answers

To your unvoiced question.

You are not a crane wife

And must find your own truth.


(Based on a true story about a crane – you can find that over here https://kottke.org/18/08/my-crane-wife )